Starting a regular mindful practice in your life need not be daunting and can slowly be built into your existing structure – not only for adults but for kids too and not only at home but in the classroom as well! Here’s a little of my own story and how I built my own mindful routine.
I’m writing this on a Wednesday, the morning I start my day with an early morning Tai Chi class on the banks of the Brisbane River with an earnest Chinese woman whose traditional, reverent practice is an example in opening to the new day’s energy. I like to start my day with a mindful routine and part of it is some physical activity. My routine helps ground me and focuses me on finding the calm place within myself. I’m fortunate that I am able now to indulge in self-care to this level but it wasn’t always like this and I most definitely built up to it and had to make initial adjustments to my thinking and way of life!
When I first learnt Transcendental Meditation 10 years ago the thought of setting aside 20 minutes every morning and every afternoon for quiet meditation quite honestly terrified me. I was the one who got out of bed at the last minute, luxuriating for as long as I could in the cosy warmth. What to do? I started getting up earlier to fit in meditation time. The afternoons were also hard. It was generally such a busy time – with 3 kids after school meant lots of commitments including feeding a family of five every night for dinner! Again – what to do? I started preparing for bed earlier and incorporating the meditation into my bedtime routine.
What I found as I became more entrenched in my mindful routine was that I craved the time because once you start, you begin to reap the rewards of self-medicating with the quiet routine and its absence leaves you devoid of the benefits. I then began wanting longer times for an escape into the quiet and peaceful so added more elements to my routine. I now enjoy calm, soothing music, burn some incense among other things and have established a quiet place to enhance my practice.
Start small and build up as much as you want and within the restraints of your own life. Bring your kids along with you for the journey, be it at home or in the classroom and the security felt with the structure will be the first reward. The next reward will be a calmer, quieter home or classroom and in the long term, the benefits will be children and adults who are less stressed, more focused and healthier and happier.
My morning mindful routine (40-50 minutes), ten years later now looks like this:
But yours can look anyway you like and will depend on your time availability, the age of your children and the other commitments you may have. There is no right way to establish a mindful routine. Maybe a morning routine either at home or school, could look something like this or you can begin with just one element of it:
Sit quietly for a few minutes, focusing on your breathing
Put on calming music
10 minutes of yoga poses
Think of 5 thing that makes you feel grateful
Perhaps as part of your bedtime or after lunch at school routine you could use a guided meditation.
The point of course is to value the routine and the need for quiet time and that you will overtime become more motivated and able to incorporate being mindful into all of your day. You can find resources to help you establish and add to your own mindful routine on our website including our new guided meditation 'Connecting With Your Quiet Place Inside.'
NB I’m not perfect and neither will you be! We’re human after all and need to celebrate our flaws as part of our real authentic selves. If you miss your routine – accept it and yourself and instead of beating up on yourself, think of tomorrow as a new day ready to be embraced with doing the best we can!